1st November 2011 - Crown Prince holds Annual Hajj Press Conference
Arafat, outskirts of Makkah, Dhu-AlHijjah 5, 1432
Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, who is also Chairman of Hajj Supreme Committee, considered the service of pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors to the two holy mosques and sacred places in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a great honor to the Kingdom's leadership and people.
Holding the Hajj annual press conference following today's inspection tour of the Hajj-related bodies, the Chairman of Hajj Supreme Committee confirmed that Hajj host country is fully prepared to receive pilgrims and assured it is going to be a comfortable easy journey for them.
This goal will be secured for two considerations: First: our trust in God Almighty on one hand and in pilgrims on the other and Secondly: because we have put all the Kingdom's capabilities at the disposal of this great event, he said.
Answering a question on Riyadh stance towards new revolutionary leaders in some Arab countries and whether Riyadh is well guarded against the revolutionary tide sweeping the region, the Crown Prince said that what have taken place in some sisterly Arab countries are internal affairs. Meanwhile it was apparent that the people and leadership of the Kingdom are tightly interconnected in a way that reflects the reciprocal trust displayed by each of them towards the other, he said. The fact that Saudi Arabia is stable was echoed by the world media which have visited the Kingdom. Praise to Allah, the Crown Prince said, that we live in tranquility and within political, social and economic stability in every domain.
Answering a question on whether the political changes taking place in the Arab arena might have negative impact on this year's Hajj, the Crown Prince reiterated the Kingdom's great confidence in pilgrims and their faith and discern that they are here to perform a holy rite, thus they should ignore such things, expecting this year Hajj to be problem and chaos free, he remarked.
He confirmed that the Kingdom is ready to deal peacefully with any circumstance that might arise during Hajj. However, it will be also ready to act accordingly.
In response to a question, the Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia and Iran don't need to conclude understanding agreements as regards Hajj this year. He stated that Iranians do always emphasize their respect to Hajj, preferring to have good faith in them. Following every Hajj season, the Kingdom receives gratitude and appreciation letters from Hajj-related Iranian officials, the Crown Prince disclosed.
Asked about an expected role the Kingdom might play in the region following the revolutions that took place in some of Arab nations, the Crown Prince stressed the Kingdom's endeavor to maintain Arab solidarity, as that is a pillar of its foreign policy which it doesn't intend to abandon.
Prince Naif refuted reports that the Saudi treasury benefits from Hajj revenues, confirming that 'not even a penny was levied by the Saudi treasury'.
Without mentioning figures, our country pours plenty of money, to improve the infrastructure of Hajj with the aim to facilitate the ritual for Muslims coming for Hajj, minor Hajj (Umrah) or visit to the Prophet's mosque, he said, citing the revenues of Al-Mashaer (sacred places on the outskirts of Makkah) train are used on the maintenance of the train.
The Crown Prince rejected the comparison between the organization of the world soccer cup finals and Hajj, stating that organizers of such international football events will have each a grace of more than two years while Hajj is a yearly event.
Asked about what kind of penalties awaiting Hajj instruction violators, the Minister of Interior said he would not think about it as everybody is now either coming to worship or to provide service to worshippers. However, whoever dares to breach this sacred ritual, should expect the punishment stated in our constitution: the holy Quran and Prophet's Sunnah (sayings and deeds), he added.
He confirmed that development projects in the sacred places will continue since Hajj is there.
In response to a question on the extent of influence of political developments in neighboring Yemen on the border between the two countries, Crown Prince said 'what happens in Yemen is an internal affair', hoping that the southern neighbor would soon enjoy stability again and that the Kingdom would not be harmed from the side of Yemen.
To this effect, he said border arrangements are enforced in all Saudi borders with its neighbors without exception.
He thanked whoever offered condolence on the death of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, describing the event as a great loss to the Kingdom.
Highlighting the contributions of the new projects taking place in the holy sites, both in Makkah and Madinah, in order to make it easier for pilgrims to move and be commuted, the Crown Prince reaffirmed that these projects are but a part of a greater plan to change the face of Makkah with the aim of making it more easier to access the Grand Mosque of Makkah. He assured that budgets to do that are already earmarked.
The Crown Prince stated that security is above everything and none is to be treated exceptionally, when it comes to maintain order. Media men, hence, should not expect to be treated differently, he added.
Responding to Media men inquiries, the Crown Prince asked them to be sincere in their news coverage and pursue facts.